Friday, 28 September 2012

The dirty life

I sit here, without internet, watching Jether cook. The smell of whole grain soaked sourdough toast mixing with pasture raised pork sausage and roasting butternut squash. Outside is lightning and a light rain. Today was a pretty good day. Harvested and packaged and got everything ready for CSA all by myself, with Jether to help pick jazz. I am competent enough I guess to be able to handle the CSA, which is a good thing I guess. It’s nice to know people are confident in you. (Jether just tossed me a shriveled somewhat rotten garlic...I’m not sure what to do with it.) After harvesting and packaging and picking enough for 10 CSA shares and market to sell (11 different items in the CSA share!). “Right on!” has been the phrase to say over the past couple days, I picked it up from someone I met at Saturday market, and the history of it all I’ll have to tell later, it’s quite funny. 

For lunch we had eggs (now that the chickens are off strike we’re eating about half a dozen a day each!), toast a little milk kefir (the goats milk is so good!) and green beans, with an appetizer of cucumbers and hummus. I’m finally getting the milk from the bad goat, Pretty Face. For the past 5 weeks I’ve milked her and only been able to milk her about half way and never been able to save what I got, always onto the milk stand. But with the help of Jether who can keep an eye on the feed I’ve been able to not only fully milk her, but to get almost all the milk. Which means a pint from each goat right now, so half a gallon a day, not bad. We are just keeping up with demand between me and Jether mostly, and making milk kefir. It’s a good thing I’m getting all of Pretty Face’s because we’d be out of milk if not.

Ahh...the farm life. Getting up before 6am, doing chores until 7am. Making them fun by jumping fences and cooking outside by a campfire at night. To the left of me is 6 dozen eggs, almost one days worth of eggs, now that the chickens are producing again. On the counter beside me is milk kefir, made with goats milk, also from the farm. About the only thing we don’t have here is grain, oil, spices, and sugar. You can get all the vegetables from here, meat, eggs, milk, it’s all here. You could live off of what was here and be living well. My diet has definitely had less carbs since I came to the farm, I don’t like to spend any more than I have to and you can get by with eating what’s here. The work is physical and non stressful. You’re working with people, but they’re people you know and enjoy being around. You’re constantly around animals and plants, watching the animals eat the plants, and vegetables go from seed to harvest. It’s not always fun work, but at the end of the day it’s satisfying to look back and see what you finished. There is always something to be done on a farm, you just have to be able to prioritize it and get done what is most urgent. Unless you have lots of help and a very small farm I’m not sure you’re ever fully on top of things while vegetables are growing. My muscles are sore from work and working out when I get the chance (I can now do sets of pushups in the lower 20s). My arms are more tan than they’ve ever been. But it is enjoyable. Liveable. 

I definitely miss home, but I’m going to miss being here as well. I’ve learned a lot, seen a lot and experienced a lot. I’ve seen a chicken lay an egg, how much fresher can you get? I’ve drunk milk from the source. Experienced the shock of an electric fence. Been knocked over by a cow. Mobbed by chickens scrambling for food. It’s a dirty life for sure, but it is good and I like it. I’m often drawing on my experience from working at the Stone Table to cook what I have here. 

Well, supper looks about ready. It’s a quarter till 9pm. Supper here is usually later, since chores end around 7pm and then you have to cook up something. Tomorrow will mark just over one week and I will be home. I have many ideas and plans for when I get home, I’m hoping to incorporate some of the stuff I’ve learned here and put it into my garden when I get back. I’m really considering doing a winter CSA this year for a few members to get some cash, and maybe a Spring one too if that works out. I’m feeling a little bit nervous about decisions coming up but I’ll rest in my Father who knows what is best and has already planned out my path. 

English Vintner